Christian Parents: Where is your Samuel?
As we go out in faith to make disciples of all nations and teaching them to obey Christ, I believe it is equally important to also keep in view our homes, our children and families. This is to make sure that we don’t gain disciples out there while our homes slowly become mission fields. In our generation, couples are sincerely pleading with God for the fruit of the womb. They are praying overnight, strongly fasting and interceding so that God blesses them with children. They quote the prayers of Hannah in 1 Samuel 1 and they are serious about it. They promise God all sort of things if their prayers ever get answered.
This is not bad in any way for children are a blessing to the couple and to the world. The joy of every parent is to see the children prosper in all spheres of life. And when the opposite happens, the parents are the ones who feel most depressed and weighed down by the woes that befall their children. My primary concerns are the key roles a parent should play to make sure that a kingdom family is established.
Going by the example of Hannah in the Bible, who raised up her son in the Lord. Samuel later became a strong leader whom God trusted with the role of providing spiritual direction to His people – the Israelites. She didn’t want sons just to feel happy and be accepted in society, she had a clear goal to give up her son to God which she gladly did. This brings me to modern day parenting. And I ask, how many are following the example of Hannah? How many are raising up their children with an aim of giving them up for God’s global mission and His Kingdom priorities? My understanding is that the basic unit and primary base of kingdom mission on earth is the family. This automatically makes a parent a missionary tasked with making sure that the children grow in the knowledge of God and conform to the image of Jesus. This serious responsibility begins with the parent’s realization that the family is of great concern to God.
Christians with an understanding of missions will agree that it will not be right if the missionaries at the frontlines came back to evangelize to the people within a “reached area”. That instead of reaching the Muslims, Buddhists and the Hindus with the gospel, they come back to reach out to those who were born and raised in Christian families. This would be a very sad and shameful scenario. But what if, instead of creating future mission fields in our families, we actively discipled the kids to be missionaries wherever they will be in life. I’m very sure, we would be having completely different religious statistics if we did that.
My claims are not far-fetched. I have seen girls from “Christian” backgrounds getting married to Muslims. The daughters have to convert to Islam and this has been happening all over the world. I have also seen, once fearless Christian leaders become agnostics and atheists later in life. This can only explain that the foundations they grew up standing on were faulty. Parents, I am making an appeal to you – to remind you that the next phase of missions largely will depend on how you handle the children that God has placed under your custody. They are the ones who will give up everything and take the gospel to the least reached places. They are the future strong pillars of the Church in a few years’ time.
But how will these things be achieved, if parents plan and prioritize educating their children to the highest levels while neglecting their spiritual foundations that are critical. If they don’t disciple them into the truth but with religious relativism. If they are not taught how to pray, read the Bible and live up to its standards from an early age. I believe it is time to make a turnaround lest we regress.
My prayer is that every parent will love God to a point where giving up a son or a daughter to missions is considered not a sacrifice. Where we will not be praying for God to send other people’s children to the mission field but first offer up our own children to lead them wherever He desires. And as we pray and fund missions we will also remember to instill the same principles and priorities on this generation and the next.
***Peter Kale (not his real name) is a missionary serving among an unreached people group in Northeastern Kenya